End of Summer Sudley #1 (Harts Fabric)

Thank you Harts Fabric for providing the fabric and thread for this post. If you haven't shopped online with Harts Fabric before, they have a thread matching program that is the besssst. Just check "Matching Gutermann Thread" when you add yardage to your cart and they will pick the best match thread color and send it with your fabric. Genius.
Last fall I made my first version of the Megan Nielsen Sudley dress, in a black rayon challis. Despite it definitely looking like a mini in the sample photos, for some reason I was surprised that it was a mini on me. (I'll never learn.) Although it's definitely too short for work, I do wear it regularly out nights, and the loose silhouette has really grown on me. It's a great transitional piece since it's easy to layer with tights and sweaters in the winter and wear on it's own with sandals in the summer. The time was perfect to make a couple more for early fall. Harts Fabric very generously provided me two lengths of fabric to play around with--hopefully it will interesting to see the difference substrate makes to the same pattern!

For a while, it felt like the only rayon option widely available was rayon challis, but recently there have been a lot of different options popping up. Both of my dresses are made of rayon--the general term--but this one is Tencel, and the next is viscose. I'm not a textiles expert, but my understanding is that "viscose" and "rayon" can be used interchangeably, but viscose can also refer to a specific type of rayon. I think I see British shops using "viscose" more often and Americans using "rayon," but that's just my hunch. Tencel is a brand name of lyocell, another type of rayon. Although the process used to create all types of rayon fabrics involves some serious chemicals, there's a real range represented by seemingly-similar fabrics (they're all "rayon" after all), both in final product and in sustainability. The Tencel twill I used today is Oeko-Tex Standard 100 Certified, which means it meets certain sustainability criteria.

This substrate is heavier than a rayon challis, with a satisfying weight and drape. I lovvvve the olive green. It's a perfect transition color and will look great with black tights and maybe my leather jacket when it's cool enough. This particular twill has a great range of projects it would be good for--it's sturdy enough to make a pair of culottes out of but certainly light enough to make this type of floaty dress or a swingy blouse.

I made a few changes to the pattern to take advantage of the fact that it's reversible. I'm not super into the keyhole neckline it has, and on my first one I just made a little slit in the back instead. This time I tried something new and added a button back (or front!). I once again cut the back in two pieces instead of on the fold and extended each side by 1/2". I drafted a facing for the back neck and button opening, so it's nice and neat inside, and the facing is topstitched down so it's easy to wear without ironing if you catch if from the dryer within a reasonable time frame. I think I'll mostly wear the buttons in the back but it's a cute detail and a nice option to have.

To solve the length issue I had with my first version I added length to both the bodice and the skirt pieces. The bodice has three lengths--empire, cropped, and blouse lengths. I cut pretty much right between the empire and cropped length so it hits roughly at my natural waist. I'm actually not sure how long the skirt pieces are supposed to be since I chucked those pattern pieces--they're just rectangles and it's easier just to figure out skirt width and length as I sew in that case. This skirt panel is the width of the fabric--I wanted it to be 1.5x the width of the waist and it just ended up that the waist is about 40" and the fabric about 60".

My next version (which you'll see soon!) has a fuller skirt for a totally different look! This is my third Sudley and it's such a quick make--it's a nice, simple pattern and I'm happy to have it in my repertoire.


ps: keep an eye out for version 2 in pink (of course)

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